Anoles, Quails, and Maybe Cattails

Raising Monarch Butterflies For Release

This page will be a guide for anyone interested in raising and releasing monarch butterflies.

Why Raise Monarchs?

Raising caterpillars into butterflies is a rewarding experience, perfect for people of all ages. Butterflies are a great way to teach young children about metamorphosis because they are interesting, fun to watch, and grow quickly. Raising butterflies is also a great way to help with conservation.

What You Will Need to Raise Monarch Caterpillars

Caring For Your Caterpillars

Monarch caterpillars are quite easy to care for, and the most important part of their care is removing withered leaves and poop, and staying on top of food and water. Caterpillars grow quickly, and within a week or so they will change from a little translucent worm into a huge one and a half inch long caterpillar. They will shed their skin frequently during this time, and when they are big enough (or when they stop eating- always make sure they have fresh milkweed!) they will climb to the top of the enclosure and attatch their bottoms to the top surface with silk. From there, they will curl into a 'J' shape and shed their skin one last time to become a chrysalis.

The Monarch Chrysalis

When monarch caterpillars first develop their chrysalis, they will be a pale seafoam green color with gold specks near the top. As the days go by, the chrysalis will turn black and orange, and you will see the folded up wings of the monarch. A few days after that, the monarch butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis.

The New Butterflies

You will need to let your newly emerged butterflies rest. Their wings will look wrinkly, and they will have large abdomens. Both are normal, and all you need to do at this point is watch the butterflies pump the access fluid from their abdomens into their wings.

Once the new butterflies have fully dried their wings, it is time to release them.

More Information

Monarch Joint Venture

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